The past two weeks have seen an unprecedented amount of changes in the value of several quarterbacks. It appears that five rookies and five sophomores could start at quarterback for Week 1. Crazy. There is a heck of a lot that we don't know about most of those guys, so that subsequently leads to the the question of their upside. QBs such as Cam Newton and Russell Wilson have very friendly fantasy schedules. Conversely, Andy Dalton and Brandon Weeden have two of the worst fantasy schedules. This factor and others should help determine the ceiling of these neophytes.
There are really five quarterbacks that appear to be head and shoulders above the rest of the pack. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford really only have the possibility off injury standing in their way to be considered as every-week starters. After that, it gets a little tricky.
Matt Ryan has all the tools to be considered as one of those elite guys. The fundamental problem here is that most of the value is based on the future and not on the past. His past, however, was very impressive at the end of last year. In the second half of the season, excluding the Week 17 game where he was resting for the playoffs, Ryan scored 2.4 TDs per game and had 299 passing yards. Those totals would extrapolate to 4,784 yards and 38 touchdowns. Those numbers stack up pretty nicely with those aforementioned elite five.
As for the future, well I'm sure you've heard about it. Ryan and the Falcons are going to run a vertical offense. Matty Ice already threw the ball further than 31 yards138 times last year and completed 78 of them. It'd be a fairly safe bet that Ryan will throw more than one more bomb per game, which would put the total over 150. Ryan also has the best fantasy schedule of any quarterback. Oh and he has only missed two games in his four-year career. I'd be extremely happy to take him in the fourth round of my draft.
Another topic worth mentioning is how to address the backup QB situation. If you're in a 10-team, one-QB league and you grab Newton, Brady, Brees or Rodgers, there's really no need to backup your stud. Unless of course QB slips big time and you want to stick it to another owner for trying to wait on value. If you do wait on a QB until after the seventh guy is off the board, you might want to take your backup in the next couple picks to double down on your odds that one breaks out.
As for those of you in deeper and two-QB leagues, if you're going to draft a backup, then why not shoot for big upside? Jake Locker and Russell Wilson can use their legs and their offenses figure to put some points on the board. If they flop, then just cut them and pick up someone else. Sometimes it's better to have a guy with very little value than a guy with just enough value to own, so you don't feel bad about making the cut when the hot waiver adds emerge during the season.
Lastly, I hope all of you have successful drafts and remember to be aware of what your opponents are doing. If you're picking eighth in an 10-team league, you should know exactly which players the ninth and 10th picks have. If they already have their QBs, you can probably wait until you're the third pick on the next round.
My @ mention box is always open, so hit me up on Twitter @MikeSGallagher with any questions.
UPDATE: Peyton Manning has moved up a couple spots due to his impressive Sunday showing.
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Thanks for reading!